- Four illegal Afghan immigrants were arrested from Sadar area of Karachi.
- Undocumented aliens are being transferred to holding centers.
- Holding points were provided with facilities to bring back foreigners.
Authorities on Wednesday launched a crackdown on illegal immigrants across the country as the deadline for undocumented foreigners expired a day earlier, while thousands of illegal Afghan migrants have voluntarily returned to Afghanistan.
Undocumented foreigners are being detained in various parts of the country including Karachi, Rawalpindi and others and taken to holding centers before being deported back to their respective countries.
Acting Interior Minister Sarfaraz Bugti announced on Tuesday that the government will begin a crackdown on undocumented immigrants, including hundreds of thousands of Afghan nationals, from Thursday (November 2).
“Only two days are left for voluntary withdrawal,” Bugti said in a video-recorded statement. He said the November 1 deadline for voluntary withdrawal will expire on Wednesday.
According to the Interior Ministry, Pakistan is home to more than 4 million Afghan migrants and refugees, of whom about 1.7 million are undocumented, including many who were born in Pakistan and have lived there their entire lives.
Islamabad announced earlier this month that it wanted all undocumented immigrants gone by November 1 after they were found involved in crime, smuggling and 14 suicide bombings out of 24 this year.
In Karachi, authorities detained four illegal Afghan immigrants from Sadar area and shifted them to a holding center from where they will be deported back to Afghanistan after completing legal formalities.
A heavy contingent of police also reached Sohrab Goth area of the metropolis and warned undocumented immigrants through loudspeakers to return to their country by midnight today.
Similarly, dozens of illegal immigrants from different areas were detained from Chaman area of Balochistan, levy officials said.
He said a large number of Afghan refugees from across the country have reached Chaman after authorities issued a deadline to leave the country.
Levy officials said undocumented Afghan migrant families are being transferred to holding centers after registration.
He said that so far more than five thousand illegal Afghan refugees have been shifted to the holding centre.
talking to geo news SSP Operations in Peshawar Kashif Aftab Abbasi said police teams along with the district administration are present in various areas to advise undocumented foreigners to return to their country.
According to Afghan Commissionerate sources, around 104,000 Afghan refugees living illegally in Pakistan have returned to Afghanistan so far.
Undocumented refugees included 28,000 men and 19,000 women and 56,000 children.
IG Punjab said that evacuation of illegal foreigners from Punjab will be done in a phased manner from November 3.
Punjab IG Usman Anwar said the plan for the repatriation of illegal residents has been finalized and the provincial police will implement the federal government’s instructions in this regard.
He said the detained undocumented foreigners will first be kept in a holding center and will be deported from the province after completing legal formalities.
He said that it would be the responsibility of the district administration to provide transportation, food and other arrangements.
Meanwhile, two illegal Afghan immigrants were arrested in Peerwadhai area of Rawalpindi and shifted to the holding centre.
Biometric verification of detained Afghan nationals will be done by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) at the holding centre.
All holding points in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other provinces have been provided facilities to bring back foreigners after completing the legal process. Apart from providing NADRA mobile units, offices of magistrates and other officials have been set up at the holding point on Nasir Bagh Road to complete legal formalities before deporting undocumented Afghans. While adequate security arrangements have been made at the centre, doctors and other facilities have also been provided.
It was learned that foreigners from Islamabad and Punjab would be brought to the holding point in Landikotal. Others from different parts of Peshawar and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be shifted to the holding camp on Nasir Bagh Road, from where they will be taken to Torkham border.
A control room was set up in the Home Department to monitor the process where officers of Grade 17 and above would represent various departments including police, district administration, intelligence agencies, Nadra, Passport and Immigration and Provincial Disaster Management Authority.
Government urged to abide by human rights commitments
In response to a petition presented by a delegation of prominent human rights defenders (HRDs), the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) has written a letter to the government and other stakeholders urging them to treat Afghan asylum seekers in accordance with national and international humanitarian . Rights commitments.
A delegation of prominent human rights defenders (HRDs) presented a petition to the NCHR urging the Commission to play its role in preventing the government from detaining, forcibly deporting, or otherwise harassing Afghan asylum seekers.
The petition also suggested the Commission to direct the UNHCR to expeditiously process and decide on the files of all applications seeking asylum by foreigners currently residing in Pakistan, especially Afghan HRDs.